Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 32—21,120 minutes

So, there were quite a few powerful reactions to the last chapter. Some sided with Christian; some sided with Ana. There was a lot of crying and some cursing. People were all over the spectrum with how they felt about the situation. While some folks want to “tar and feather” me, others are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for Saturday and still others seem to be just bored. One person held me personally responsible asking “how could you do this to them?” Le sigh… So now you get to see what happens in the days that followed, where Ana went, and how our lovers handle things on their own. Let’s see if you still have the same views after you read this chapter…

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY fanfic in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 32—21,120 minutes

GREY

“Gone where!?” I ask him, feeling like my heart is about to explode out of my chest.

I have no idea, but she is definitely gone.”

“Get Gerald on the phone. We need to file a missing persons report quickly. Something may have happened to her,” I say to Jason, before turning back on Davenport. “You have one job—one—and that is to keep her safe, and now she’s missing?” I yell at him.

“Sir, she’s not missing, and she’s not on one of her angry jaunts. She left. Marilyn is tight-lipped and won’t budge, but she spent the afternoon loading up an SUV with food and necessities for Ana, who slipped out of the back entrance while I was sitting in the lobby.”

“How could you let her get away!?” I roar. “I told you that she would be upset today. Why did you let her out of your sight!?”

“Sir, I didn’t let her do anything. I sat in the same place that I’ve sat everyday for eight months, and this is the day that she decided that she wanted to leave and not let me know. Every other time, even at the gym when she was angry at you, she let me know that she was leaving. Now, she didn’t even want me to know. I’m her bodyguard, Sir, not her warden.” I can hear the anger in his voice and it only fuels mine.

You’re fired.” I hiss at him. His eyes grow as large and prominent as the shock in his face as well as Jason’s. He stands there gape-mouthed for a moment. “I’m not going to repeat myself. Get the fuck out of my house.” He straightens his shoulders. After reaching in his pocket, he throws something over to Jason. Once Jason catches it, I realize that it’s a set of keys. Without a word, he turns around military-style and walks out of the apartment. His calm is a bit unnerving, but I don’t care right now. All I want is my Butterfly back.

I turn around and see Jason eying me with obvious disapproval.

“Something you want to say, Taylor?” I am met with immovable silence and a stoic expression. “You know what to do. Find her.”

“Yes, Sir,” he says with a menacing calm, much like that exhibited by Davenport moments ago. He turns with the same precision and walks off into his office. Fuck alcoholics, I need a damn drink!

*-*

It’s been a week—a whole damn week—and not a word from Butterfly… well, not directly anyway. Marilyn knows where she is but won’t tell me. Allen has spoken to her, but since he still works for me, she will only check in to let him know that she hasn’t fallen prey to kidnappers or fortune-seekers. She must be calling from a different phone, completely untraceable though we don’t know how. She’s driving, so we can only assume that she still in Washington, or one of the neighboring states at best. I am being hounded by my family, her father, and the Scooby Gang for details about where she is and why she left. Unlike the time when she “checked out,” this one is totally on me. I confess to them all that in a moment of uncertainty, I canceled the wedding—that we were fighting like cats and dogs and I thought that we should take some time to figure out what was wrong before we jumped into marriage.

Many of these brilliant people came to the same conclusion I did, that we had plenty of time before our wedding to iron out our differences. Yet, I came to that conclusion a moment too late. She was already gone even though I didn’t know it. Tamara is continuing with our wedding plans based on what she and Butterfly had already discussed. Like me, she believes that Ana will come to her senses and come back. With each passing day and no contact, I’m not so sure. I saw her that last day before she left. She was crushed. Only the fact that she is keeping in contact with Marilyn and Allen gives me comfort and lets me know that she is okay.

Our family and friends are split on how to treat me. Mom and Dad are supportive and say that Ana will be back when she cools off and realizes that we love each other. Elliot is disappointed in me and Mia is livid! Ray is not to happy with me, either, and Mandy is trying to stay neutral. The Scooby Gang is a bit standoffish, but cautious—not judgmental, but not overly friendly or supportive except for Allen and James. I believe that Gail could care less whether I lived or died at this point but keeps over-feeding me for the sake of my mom and Ana so that I don’t starve myself like I did before. Jason just kind of grumbles, mumbles, and hisses in my presence, talking only to give me updates on Myrick and Hamilton and to tell me that there’s no news on Ana’s whereabouts.

At the 10-day mark, I’m losing my mind. I go in to speak to Dr. Baker to try to get a handle on my thoughts, but it does me no good. She tells me that the way that we are both feeling and reacting is perfectly normal, particularly for a couple planning a wedding. Her only advice to me was to wait it out, that Ana will return when she’s ready.

That Friday night, I completely lose it. My nights have been plagued with dreams and nightmares—nightmares that she is gone forever or dreams that she is back in my arms, safe and loving me. The dreams are worse, because I awake the next morning reaching for her only to find that she’s not there. No one really wants to talk to me, so I’m keeping this all in except for talking to Dr. Baker and John—John as a friend, not my shrink. I don’t want his advice, I just want to sound off to someone. I pick up my blackberry and dial a number.

Hi Chris.”

Nobody cares about me,” I say into the phone. “If it wasn’t for her, no one would care if I lived or died. I know that I hurt her. I accept that, but I’m hurting too, and nobody cares about me—not even my own family.”

That’s not true, Chris,” Allen says. “You know that we care about you. We just don’t know how to handle this right now.”

“Neither do I.” I feel the tears burning down my face. “This is what I get for thinking I could be a normal guy.” I didn’t mean to say that out loud, but it was too late.

What do you mean by that?” Allen asks.

“Nothing. I’m sorry I bothered you.” I end the call and throw my phone on the breakfast bar. I retrieve a bottle of bourbon from the bar and go to my piano. She sat here with me the last time I sat here. I take a shot of bourbon straight from the bottle. I put my fingers on the keys and try to play but nothing comes to me, absolutely nothing. I feel like I’m hurting all over as I take another swallow of bourbon, anything to numb this never-ending pain.

I tried. I tried for days to be strong, to think positive, for nearly two weeks. I kept planning the wedding, kept working. I put on the face like everything was okay and I was unshakable, but when it comes to her, I’m not. I admit it, I’m not. I wasn’t breaking up with her, I just thought we should wait. I was wrong, and I figured that out, but I still wasn’t breaking up with her. Why did she leave me?

Still unable to find music, I make the mistake of turning on my iPod and choosing a song that describes my feelings at this moment—Marvin Gaye, I Wish I Didn’t Love Her So Much. For the first time since we have been together, I wish I could turn off these feelings because they burn inside. They hurt more than anything I have ever felt and I can’t stand them for another second. I don’t know how many minutes, hours, shots of bourbon have passed and how many times I have listened to this song when I find myself banging mindlessly on the keys, sobbing like the maudlin drunk that I am.

“Christian! Christian, stop!” I didn’t realize how strong James was until I found him holding my injured, bloody hands. I have destroyed several keys on my piano and I am staring at him through my tears. “Stop,” he says again.

I sit there frozen, staring at him. When did he get here? I frown a bit, questioning, when I look up and they are all here—Maxine and Philip, Allen, Valerie and the brother who isn’t speaking to me, and Garrett. Marilyn is conspicuously absent for obvious reasons.

They do care… I guess.

I slump into a mound on my piano seat, weeping—probably more from too much alcohol than anything, I think. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

“Where is that music coming from? Turn that shit off!” I hear my brother say, and someone behind me locates the remote to my iPod, ending my misery serenade.

“Bring him over here,” I hear Gail say. James leads me from the piano bench to the breakfast bar where Gail has a bowl of cold water waiting. “Put your hands in here so we can stop the bleeding and I can see the cuts.” I obey, still weeping like a drunken bitch.

Hold your head up, for Christ’s sake. Your hair is getting into the bloody water!” It appears that Gail is still angry with me even though she’s tending to my wounds. That makes me cry even more for some reason. Like I said, maudlin drunk.

“Oh, for the love of God, pull yourself together, Bro!” Elliot barks. “You did this to yourself, you know.”

“Elliot!” Valerie scolds.

“Well, he did! He had the perfect girl for him—the perfect girl! He goes through this big, elaborate production of proposing to her, then he tells her that he doesn’t want to marry her! He’s a fucking idiot!”

“That’s not… what… I s-said,” I say through shuddering breaths.

Well, that’s what she heard,” Elliot barks. “She heard that after dealing with all of your crazy shit—and hers—that you didn’t want to be bothered.” I look up at him. Has he been talking to her?

“How do… you know that?” I ask him.

“Because when God was handing out emotions, He gave me one that apparently slipped by you. It’s called empathy!” Oh. Yeah, that. Okay. I drop my head again and into the bowl of water I go.

“Dammit Christian!” Gail exclaims. Another set of hand lift my chin and are now gently wiping my face.

“You really need to pull it together, Christian,” Maxine’s voice says softly. “You’re a mess. May I add this is not what I expected to find when I returned from my honeymoon.” She’s drying my hair and her kind eyes smile at me. It slows my crying a bit but I still want my Butterfly.

Well, your hands are cut up pretty badly, but none of the cuts look to need stitches. You may need a tetanus shot, though,” Gail announces

“I don’t… need… a sho… shot.” Now, I have the hiccups. Before I can protest further, my know-it-all brother is on the phone.

“Hi, Mom… yeah, I’m at Christian’s… Listen, he had a hissy-fit and cut his hands up on his piano keys. Does he need a tetanus shot?… Yeah, yeah, sure. Does he need a shot?… No, Gail says he doesn’t look like he needs any stitches. It’s a lot of little cuts but no deep or long ones… Okay, Mom. Thanks… yeah, yeah, yeah, okay bye.” He ends the call with our mother. “She says if he doesn’t need stitches, he most likely won’t need a tetanus shot.”

What else did she say, Elliot?” Valerie presses. There is a moment of silence.

“She said to stop antagonizing him and to tell him that she loves him.” That felt good, to hear that someone still loves me.

“She’s right. Stop antagonizing him!” Valerie scolds. “He’s suffering enough.”

“He deserves it!” Elliot snaps. “Maybe this will make him stop doing stupid shit when he gets her back.” I look up at him, my eyes asking my question for me. “Oh, get off it! That woman loves you more than God! Why, I’ll never know, but she does, so she’ll come back, and you better not fuck up when she does or I’ll never let you live it down.” I just look at him. I have no strength to fight anymore. Now the tears roll silently down my face. Elliot has to turn away. Even in his anger, he has never been able to watch me cry. “Dammit, Bro,” he mumbles under his breath. “And stop listening to this damn break-up shit! That’s probably what got you in the state that you are now.” I just nod. Gail finishes bandaging my hands, cleans up the mess and walks away without a word. She is clearly not letting me off so easily.

“Doesn’t anybody… see my side in… th-this? Why I th-thought this… might be the right… decision at the t-time?” I still can’t stop the shuddering and the hiccups.

After you’ve explained it, yes, we do,” Garrett says, “but whose opinion really counts right now?” I feel the crying coming on again. I drop my head and try to combat it.

“Pe-people. She made me… n-need people… I was fine… on my own… b-but s-she made… me need p-people…” I breathe heavily after I finally get the words out of my mouth. Maxine sits on the stool next to me and holds my hand, no words, just silently holding my hand. Valerie holds my other one and brushes my yet again overgrown hair out of my face. Why does it always seem to grow wild when Ana leaves me?

People… she made me need people. I can’t do this alone.

“You’re not alone, Chris,” Allen says, reading my mind. Thank God for that.

I look around the apartment and everything that I see reminds me of her—the kitchen where we share our meals; the fireplace in the great room that I never used until she got here; the dining table where we host F&L; even the marble floor where she left Elena in a bloody mess. Almost on cue, Jason appears from where he was hovering around the corner. I know why she left now. I can’t stay here either. It’s too much.

“Get me out of here,” I beg him, my heart and soul cracking all over again. I don’t care what you do. Take me to a hotel. Drop me off at a homeless shelter. Just get me the hell out of here. Jason looks at me and his stoic and impassive expression drops for the first time in 12 days.

“Okay, Boss,” is all he says.

*-*

I awake in my usual suite at the Alexis Hotel. The room is dark and I don’t know what time it is. I do know that I dreamed of Butterfly and that she’s not here now. Resigned to my fate, I pull the covers over my head, close my eyes, and think of Butterfly…

*-*

The sunlight is barely shining into the room now. I still feel so exhausted. If I keep waking up every few hours, I’m never going to get any rest. Back to thoughts of Butterfly…

*-*

I don’t even bother taking the covers off my head this time. Back to sleep I go…

*-*

You know we need to get up, don’t you?” she says, softly in my ear.

No, we don’t. We can stay right here.” I pull her tight into my arms. “We don’t have anything to do today.”

We have a lot to talk about, Christian, and we have to finish our planning. The wedding day will be here soon.” I kiss her just under her ear. “Mmmm, or… maybe not…”

I go for the maybe not,” I say as I roll over on top of her. “You are so beautiful.” I kiss her gently before I sink into her.

Aahh!” she moans, pushing her hips into mine. “You feel so good.”

Oohh, so do you, Baby,” I say, feeling her warmth surround me. This is the best feeling, being buried inside of her.

Christian… aahh… Christian… I’m coming!”

I know, Baby,” I hiss, thrusting into her fast and hard. “Give it to me!” She groans loudly and my release is right behind hers—hard and violent.

Oh, yes! Oh, fuck!” I cry out.

I am jolted awake midway through my ejaculation and grit my teeth as it finishes. Fucking hell! I haven’t had a wet dream in years! The sun still hasn’t risen completely in the sky. Fuck of all fucks! This has to have been the longest night of my life. I am drenched in sweat—and now cum, too—so I throw the covers off of me and go to the bathroom.

I step out of my clothes from last night and let the water run over me. My hands don’t hurt nearly as badly as I thought they would after that beating that I gave my piano. Shit, my piano. Do I repair it or just replace it? As the water runs over my head, I notice that my hair is actually flopping down my back a bit. This will never do. I was actually due for a haircut before the shit all hit the fan. Now, it’s imperative.

I scratch my chin to see that my beard has grown in quite quickly. I just shaved! I know I’m not crazy with that one. Fuck it, maybe with all the crying and emotions, I have some super-active female hormones at work inside me. As long as I don’t grow tits and still love to fuck, it’s all good. After removing the ridiculous amount of hair that accumulated on my face overnight, I find some gauze in the first aid kit in the medicine cabinet and re-wrap my hands. I put on a sweater and jeans over my T-shirt and boxer briefs and go search for coffee.

I open the door and see Jason on the sofa in the sitting room. He is eating chicken cacciatore and Italian bread. What the hell?

Breakfast of champions, Jason?” I ask, going for the coffee pot and noticing that it’s empty. What’s this? I turn to throw an accusing look at Jason and he just sits there looking at me. This begins the silent conversation that sends my already fragile mind into a tailspin. I stand still waiting for an explanation when Jason gestures to the window. The sun has disappeared into a beautiful twilight sky. Okay, yeah, pretty. Now where the fuck is the cof…

Twilight sky.
Twilight.
It’s nighttime!
That was the sunset that I saw, not the sunrise.

Shit, Jason, you let me sleep away the whole day?” I bark.

“Why? Did you have plans?” he says sarcastically. Fucker. “And you didn’t sleep a day away…” I point to the night sky.

“I specifically remember seeing the night sky and then seeing the dawn. Now I see the night sky again. I’d say that was a day!”

“You didn’t let me finish,” Jason says calmly. “You didn’t sleep a day away, Christian. You slept away two days.”

I feel like the air was just sucked out of the room.

Are you… serious?” I can’t even be angry. I’m just stunned. He hands me my blackberry and sure enough, it reads Sunday, March 10, 2013, 7:16pm. Fuck me. “How…?” I’ve never slept that long in my life. Even when I was hospitalized for dehydration and exhaustion last year, I didn’t sleep that long.

First, you reeked of bourbon. You’re lucky you didn’t get alcohol poisoning. I’m surprised that you didn’t piss yourself in the bed. Second, you needed the rest. You were two seconds from a psychotic breakdown. You were blubbering and hiccupping in a room full of people. You needed to sleep, to give your body and mind and opportunity to recuperate. Third, with the sounds that I heard coming from that room, there was no way in hell that I was waking you up—screaming, snoring, nocturnal emissions…” I glare at him with that last revelation. “With all due respect, Christian, I slept in a barracks. I am well acquainted with all of those things. When you were ready to wake up, you would wake up… and you did. Now order some dinner. You’re going to need some nourishment. You haven’t eaten in two days.”

“I just want some coffee,” I say, dialing for room service.

“You haven’t eaten in two days. Order some dinner. Besides, we’ve got a road trip ahead of us.” I turn to look at him. Road trip. That can only mean one thing.

“You found her,” I say.

Yes, I found her. I got an anonymous call this morning from a woman that says she rented a cabin to someone fitting Ana’s description. No doubt, she’s looking for a payoff, but something had to pop up after that story ran.”

“What story? The one about her mother? That was at least 10 days ago.”

“No, the one about you. Apparently, the Alexis or one of its staff appreciates a quick buck more than they do your business.” Jason hands me a copy of Break-Up Magazine. Oh God, this can’t be good.

Billionaire and once-again bachelor Christian Grey was seen checking into the Alexis Hotel late last night with his bodyguard, Jason Taylor. A hotel employee says that Grey was “sweating alcohol and barely able to stand.” Other sources say that Anastasia Steele, the other half of the now-doomed AnaChris, hasn’t been seen at the penthouse for several days. So if the Bad Boy is at the Alexis and the Sweetheart is elsewhere—most likely at her condo—then who’s staying at the penthouse?

The employee who wishes to remain anonymous indicates that Grey had been visibly crying and his hands were wrapped in bandages. Did he find his sweetheart in bed with another? Is there a pulverized home-wrecker walking around the streets of Seattle somewhere?

Of course, Steele could not be contacted for comment. Sources believe she is holed-up in her downtown condo, nursing a broken heart and shattered dreams. But guess what, girls? That means that the once-elusive hot billionaire is back on the market! Saddle up, Ladies! Who’s going to get to him first?

“Oh for fuck’s sake, will this ever end?” I lament.

No, Sir, it won’t,” Jason says from in front of me. “There will always be rumors and tabloid lies and some sick fuck in love with Ana or some ex-sub that wants to get you back. You and Ana may disagree more than you agree, and just when you think the storm is over, some woman is going to show up saying that you are the father of her baby. Ana is going to be testifying in Green Valley cases for a really long time and somewhere in between, she has the kidnapping case and the various lawsuits that she has initiated. There will be good and bad publicity from the Faces of Abuse campaign, there’s a psycho claiming to be your brother, and we still don’t know where Lincoln is. Somewhere in all of this mayhem, you’re going to manage to love her, make babies with her, build a home with her, and a life with her, and when your children get here, they will present a whole new set of problems for you. So no, it will never end. Now, the question is do you want this woman or not?”

That’s a no-brainer. I can’t go back to being the man that I was, not in a million years. I can’t love anybody but her, but I can’t go back to being that other man. I simply can’t. If I can’t have her, it would be a life of torment—never-ending torment. I don’t know what I’d do. I have no idea how I would survive.

“Pack our shit, get the car, I’ll pick up something to eat on the way.” I go in search of shoes.

 


 

STEELE

Three days. I cried for three days once I got here. I locked myself in, closed all the curtains, and cried.

Tuesday I left Seattle bound for Glacier National Park after seeing an advertisement for it on a travel website. The scenery is beautiful and I may be just out of touch enough to get my mind in order. Only, the minute I cross state lines, the dogs would be after me and I don’t want to be found. I just want peace. I need to clear my head and decide what I am going to do next.

I left my tether iPhone in my desk drawer and hit the I-90, following the connectors east straight into Montana. There was some mountain driving which was a bit scary, especially at night, but I managed to get through. Marilyn had withdrawn a substantial amount of money from my bank account as well as purchased some prepaid visa cards for me and rented the Tahoe on her own credit card to throw seekers off the scent. Amex Black and Discover would only alert them of where I am.

It’s a terrible responsibility to put onto Marilyn, but I needed someone to help me or I never would have gotten away without 50 questions—if I had gotten away at all. I know that I can trust her. She has always had my back. I love how she acted like she was talking to an old friend when I called to let her know that I was on the I-90 and well on my way.

Hello?”

“It’s me, Mare. I’m on my way out of the city. Any problems yet?” I asked.

Oh, hi. I’m quite well and you?” I could see she is talking in code.

“He’s right there, isn’t he?” I asked about Chuck.

Absolutely! It’s great hearing from you.”

“Does he suspect anything.”

Not at all. Everything has been going great with me. How about you? It’s been so long.”

“You are such a dork,” I jested at a time when I don’t feel like laughing at all.

Well, you know me. Same old Mare. Nothing much has changed over the years.”

“Okay, well, thank you again for helping me. Make sure you cancel the appointments like I asked and let them know that I have a personal emergency that couldn’t be avoided.”

Oh, no problem. I’d love to get together and talk sometimes. We have so much catching up to do.” Yes, Mare, I know.

“When I get there, I promise that I will call you on the Sat phone and tell you everything. Okay?”

That sounds wonderful! I really look forward to hearing all about it,” she says, remaining in character.

“I’ll call you again when I’m crossing the state line. Leave in half an hour as usual. I don’t want anyone getting more of a head start on me.”

No problem. I get off in half an hour and we can meet then if you like.”

“Thanks again, Mare. Talk to you soon.”

Absolutely. I’ll see you then! Bye!” Marilyn is a bit too good at that, but I needed every bit of those theatrics because that extra 30 minutes that she doesn’t tell Chuck that I’m not in the office will buy me about 40 miles on the freeway before I discover that there’s a tracking device on my gun or something.

As promised, I did call Marilyn when I crossed the state lines and she told me that shit really hit the fan when Chuck discovered that I wasn’t in the office. She stood her ground and told him nothing, just like she promised. She only said that she would let him know if I didn’t check in, but nothing more. This guaranteed that I had to call in everyday to make sure that she knew that I was alive and safe.

I rented a private cabin in Montana up in the mountains. It was about two in the morning when I got there and I didn’t think that the owner would wait up for me. Luckily, she did, and once I had given her $2500 in cash, she helped me to unload the SUV then left me in peace to begin my mourning and wailing.

Christian jilted me. After all of that waiting, he wants to wait some more because we fight like normal couples fight. Sure, it’s more than usual, but we’ve had some stressful times around here! And we’re planning a damn wedding! Of course, we’re going to argue! That’s no reason to cancel our wedding.

You told him that one of you would cancel the wedding at least… how many times?
Yes, but he briefed the staff! That means that he was serious about this cancellation. Not only that, but he was the one who told me that he wouldn’t cancel.
You didn’t give him time to retract his statement. And you made your plans before you discovered that he briefed the staff.
It doesn’t matter. Christian is not a fickle man, and he notified someone besides me that our wedding was canceled. He doesn’t make frivolous decisions and then notify his staff. He was serious. Now shut up, because I can’t handle you in my head right now… and I mean it.

So here I am, three days later, my head feeling like lead from crying every bit of the water out of my body. It’s well into Friday afternoon when I decide to make the call that I have dreaded.

Jewel, what the hell? Christian is beside himself.” I’ll just bet he is.

“I need some time to myself, Al.”

Well, what’s going on? Where are you?”

“I can’t tell you.” The line goes silent.

What do you mean you can’t tell me? I’m your best friend. You tell me everything. Are you in trouble?”

“No, I’m not in trouble, but you also work for Christian, and I don’t want to pull you in the middle of this,” I say.

Jewel, I don’t care about this job! If it comes down to choosing between him and you, I chose you!” he declares.

“I know, and I don’t want you to do that. That’s why I won’t put you in the middle.” He sighs.

Well, you still haven’t told me what’s going on, and I deserve that much.” My turn to sigh.

“He called off our wedding,” I say in a low voice, like if he didn’t hear me, it wouldn’t be true.

He did WHAT!?” Allen roars, and I can hear the entire office behind him fall silent.

“Allen, please, calm down,” I beg him.

Are you serious? He called off the wedding? This wasn’t an angry outburst or something and you could be mistaken?”

“I wish I were mistaken. He said that we fight too much and that he thinks we should wait before we get married.”

So you were fighting when he said this?” Al says, hopeful. “He could take it back, Jewel, if he was angry…”

“No, we weren’t fighting. We had been fighting early in the evening and I went to the workout room and he left—alone, no Jason. He stayed out for hours, wouldn’t answer texts about when he was coming home. When I awoke at about three in the morning, he was there sitting in a chair. That’s when he told me that we should wait. I spent the night in the bathroom vomiting.” Al gasped at that revelation. “The next day, he reinforced that he thought this was best and he even told the staff what happened.”

Well, he didn’t tell me, and I’m the staff,” Al says. It’s been three days. What is he waiting for?

“He was probably waiting for me to tell you. So now I’ve told you. I’m not getting married. My fairytale wedding to my prince in a castle is off!” I start to cry again.

I’m sorry, Jewel. I want to come to you, please. Tell me where you are.”

No. Not yet, Allen. I really need some time to myself. I just want to cry and be ugly and eat ice cream or don’t eat… I just need to be by myself.”

For how long, Jewel?” I shrug. Oops, he’s on the phone. He can’t see the shrug…

“I don’t know yet, but I’ll call you everyday. I promise.”

I guess now I know why I couldn’t reach you,” he says mournfully.

“I didn’t want to be reached,” I say. “I’ll keep you posted, Al. I love you.”

I love you, too, Jewel. I’m glad you’re okay… physically anyway.”

“Thanks, Baby. Bye now.”

Bye, Jewel.”

I hate keeping Allen in the dark, but I don’t want to drag him into this, even though he is my best friend.

I try to make myself some dinner, but I still have that lump in my stomach from being jilted and I’m afraid that it won’t stay down. I make myself some warm chicken soup and that stayed down well enough. It also felt really good going down while I’m nestled in the cold mountains of Montana. I fall asleep on the sofa in front of the television, trying not to think of Christian.

I wake on Saturday morning and decide that I’m going to explore a bit. First, I need to explore this cabin as I have been here for four days and I simply have not paid attention. There is a living room with two sofas facing each other and a small entertainment center with a 26” flat screen television. There are hardwood floors throughout the house and the living room has a big fluffy rug on the floor. The kitchen has granite countertops and a small granite breakfast bar, wood cabinets and black appliances—just small enough for one person to get in there and cook although the cabin sleeps eight.

There are two bedrooms on the first floor, each with a queen bed and a flat screen. In the middle of the open floor plan, there is a quaint wooden spiral staircase that leads to a loft, which houses two more queen beds. There is a slate walk-in shower with multiple shower heads and the granite vanity matches the granite from the kitchen. There is also a stacking washer and dryer and the landlady Desarae—God love her—brings me bagels, danishes and coffee every morning.

A large deck wraps around the front of the house and carries patio furniture for lounging and the large backyard basically opens to the mountains and Glacier National Park and has a fire pit. Though I will use the Wi-Fi since the house has a computer, I won’t use the telephone since it can be traced.

I decided to take a snowshoe walk with a group of tourists from the Great Bear Inn. It was nice to get out on the trails and walk around, admiring the mountains and becoming one with nature. I only became melancholy once, thinking of Christian and our trip to Wallace Falls, but it didn’t last long and I was okay by the end of the trail. We get back to the lodge before nightfall and I indulge in a large mug of that divine cocoa with the marshmallows. I chat with a family from Louisiana who are here with another family of four. We just talk about nothing for a while before I decide to go back to the cabin and turn in.

The next day, I decide to go on a sled ride—dog sled, that is. It’s a little strange, but it was fun nonetheless. I call Marilyn and Al and tell them about my adventures and communing with nature. Marilyn actually sounds a little jealous but Al asks me the same question every time I call.

When are you coming home?
Sorry, Al, I still don’t know yet.

I stay in the cabin on Monday and veg out in front of the television. I go over to the computer while the television is watching me and type in a Google search for me and Green Valley.

There’s a new hit.

I nearly dread looking at it since my weekend seemed so healing. I’m moving from maudlin to angry now. I don’t want to go back to maudlin. I click on the link and settle in for the voice of doom…

An investigation into the financial records of Franklin Whitmore provides more damning evidence against his son Cody in the case of the malicious beating of Anastasia Steele and the murder of her unborn baby. According to the AG’s office, a large sum of money was transferred to the joint account of Carla and Stephen Morton and a second smaller sum to the sole account of Stephen Morton in 2001, months after the vicious attack. It’s highly believed that this was hush money paid to the Mortons to ensure their daughter’s silence. Circumstances surrounding the transfer strongly indicate that Steele was unaware of the transaction. The AG’s office can only speculate what the money was for, but has summoned Carla Morton in for questioning as Stephen Morton passed away last month. AG Herbert Larson indicates that with only one side of the story to be told, he is aware that the tale will be terribly skewed and he may have to enter the facts as circumstantial evidence. Noting that the widow Mrs. Morton is having a very public battle in the media with her estranged daughter, Larson intends to handle Mrs. Morton as a hostile witness. The transfer is still under investigation. However, Larson indicates that depending on the office’s findings in this matter, Widow Morton could also be facing charges of evidence tampering and witness intimidation in this case.

Yes! I think to myself. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I told them! I told them that I couldn’t talk about it because it was an open case. I told them that if they listened to Carla, they would be sorry! I should fucking sue Hello Magazine, damn it, but I already have Edward’s lawsuit on my plate. Al tells me that fucker tried to settle for 3.5 million so that he could have something left. No, Asshole. It’s all or nothing. If I lose, I’ll turn your ass over to Christian and let him do with you what he will! Well, maybe… if we’re still together after this.

*-*

Tuesday after lunch, I go horseback riding on some of the clearer trails and have cocoa again in the lodge with some of the families. My Louisiana family is leaving tomorrow, so I hug them all and wish them a safe journey. I pull up to my quaint little cabin to see one of those heavy-duty pickup trucks parked out front and an unknown figure sitting on my porch. It’s not Christian, which was my first fear, but now I’m even more afraid because I have no idea who it is.

With my doors still locked, I load my Glock and leave my purse in the car. I walk carefully around the Tahoe and proceed toward the porch. I train my gun on the figure and announce, “I have a gun and I am licensed. Whoever you are, come into the light—slowly. Any sudden moves and I will shoot.”

The figure stands slowly raising their hands and walking into the light.

“I come in peace,” he says. I adjust my eyes. I recognize that voice. Fuck! It’s Chuck. I drop my arms and my gun.

“Did he send you?” I ask impassively as I go back to the Tahoe and retrieve my purse.

“No, he fired me.” I glare at him.

“He fired you?” I ask incredulously.

“Yep, for letting you get away,” he answers flatly. I shake my head and we walk into the warmth of the cabin.

“Blame anybody, just don’t take the blame yourself,” I mumble. “Well, now you work for me,” I say, putting my keys and purse on the breakfast bar. Chuck laughs.

“No offense, Ana, but you can’t afford me,” he says with a smile. I put my hands on my hips.

“You have better offers on the table?” I ask him. He shrugs.

No. Not yet anyway, but I will, assuming the great Christian Grey hasn’t blackballed me yet.”

“Well, until those sacks of cash start rolling in, you work for me, but you’re right. I can’t afford you, so what do you suggest?” He shakes his head.

“We’ll work something out. Right now, can I please have something to eat? I’m starving.”

It’s late and I’m tired and I don’t feel like cooking, but I do have some leftover beef stew from last night. I reach in the refrigerator and grab the bowl, handing it to Chuck and pointing to the microwave.

“Have at it. You want a beer?” I say.

“Um, no thanks. Soda or coffee is fine.” I immediately kick myself for forgetting that Chuck is a recovering alcoholic. 

“Sorry. I wasn’t thinking,” I say as I reach into the refrigerator for a soda and a bottle of Abyss. “I hope you don’t mind if I have one.”

“It’s understandable with what you’re going through, and no, I don’t mind at all if you have one.

I hand him his soda and wait for him to take his dinner out of the microwave. I sit across from him at the breakfast bar and let him get a few bites in. Before I even get the opportunity to ask, he says, “Don’t fire her.” That’s when I knew that Marilyn told him where to find me. “I was really worried, Ana. We all are. Your friends, your father, Christian…” Shit! I forgot about Daddy. Maybe I should call him, but then he would want to know what was going on. Christian was too chickenshit to tell Al, who’s on his fucking payroll. I know he won’t tell Daddy.

That still doesn’t let Marilyn off the hook.

Tell me one good reason I shouldn’t fire Marilyn,” I say, taking another swallow of my beer.

“She indispensable and you know it. Besides that award-winning performance that she gave last week when she was talking to you on the phone…” I tried not to give it away, but he got me, “she refused to tell me anything until she actually verified that I wasn’t working for Christian anymore.”

“How did she verify?” I ask skeptically.

She called GEH human resources in trying to verify employment. They told her that I was separated as of last week.”

“Last week? You’ve been unemployed that long?”

“That’s not long, Ana. Besides, I made good money and I can float for a long time until I find another job.” He takes a swallow of his soda. “Marilyn thought that you might go easy on her if I reminded you that your successful Houdini act actually cost me my job.”

“I’m sorry, Chuck, but it would have cost you your job either way,” I tell him. “You can stay here as long as I do if you can stand the cold.”

“How long are you staying?” and there’s that question again.

“I don’t know yet. I paid the owners for two weeks, but I may stay even longer. Maybe a few more days, maybe a week, I don’t know.”

“Do you plan on going back to Seattle, Ana?” he asks bluntly. I hadn’t thought about not returning to Seattle. I wouldn’t let myself think that far ahead. I was just enjoying my sabbatical, not having every moment be about Christian Grey.

“Let’s just see how tomorrow goes, okay?” I say, evading the question completely.

*-*

Chuck and I don’t talk much about me and Christian in the days that follow. I didn’t come up here to think about him everyday, although I’m not willing to admit at all that I came up here to forget him.

On Saturday morning, Chuck puts the Tahoe in four-wheel-drive and we tackle some of the beautiful scenery on Going To The Sun Road. It was dark when I traversed this road the first time, so I didn’t get to enjoy how breathtaking it really is. We stop and walk some of the mountain trails—the less treacherous ones. I stand a safe distance from the edge of a cliff and watch the waterfall on the opposite mountain. I’m surprised that the water is still moving in this cold. I look up and Chuck is snapping pictures with his phone.

“You’re going to want some reminders of your trip. I’ll text them to you when you get your phone back.” He smiles at me and we walk back down to the Tahoe. I have to say that it’s good to have someone else here. Now I wish that I had told Al where I was, but I still don’t want to get him involved.

When we get back to the cabin that night, I call Marilyn and scold her for letting the cat out of the bag.

“Well, I just thought he…” he voice trails off.

“What is it, Mare?” I ask.

“It’s Christian. I don’t think he’s doing very well. We were all out together, you know, the group, and Al got a call. It was Christian. He was only on the phone for a minute—I mean literally, 60 seconds tops, and they were all up and on their way over there. He said he didn’t like how Christian sounded. He was talking about nobody caring about him.” Nobody caring about him? Christian doesn’t care if anybody cares about him. He’s an island!

“Why didn’t you go?” I ask.

I thought it best that I didn’t. He would just try to get me to tell him where you were and if he’s as bad off as Al says he is, I may have been tempted to tell him. I only told Chuck because he doesn’t work for GEH anymore so I thought, hey, no harm… I guess.” Now, I’m torn. Two wrongs don’t make a right, I know, but as God is my witness, I’m trying to heal and figure out what I’m going to do with my life from here.

“Thanks for letting me know, Mare. Try not to worry about it too much, okay? He’s a big boy.”

“You’re not mad at me for telling Chuck?” she asks.

“Only because his story checks out, but don’t tell anyone else and I mean it. I don’t care what they say, because my father is going to come to you next,” I scold her.

“Okay, I won’t. Tell him I says hello.”

“I will. Goodnight, Mare.”

“Ana?” I wait for her to speak again. “You should call him.” I sigh.

“I’m not ready, Marilyn,” I respond. I don’t know if I ever will be.

“Goodnight, Ana,” she says softly. Fuck! I hate how he turns shit around on me! He’s the one who jilted me and now he’s all soft in the middle because I don’t want to sit around and watch him rule his kingdom while I wonder why he didn’t want me. What the hell does this man want from me?

“Ana?” Chuck breaks me from my thoughts.

“I’m going to bed, Chuck,” I say before quickly retiring to my room, changing into my pajamas, and throwing my covers over my head, quickly putting the kibosh on all thoughts Christian Grey and drifting off to sleep.

*-*

I close the door after handing Dasarae a payment for the next week and turn around into the expecting face of Chuck Davenport.

“Another week, huh?” he asks expecting.

“Yes, another week,” I say.

“You really plan on making the guy suffer, don’t you?” I pour myself a cup of coffee.

“This…” I gesture around myself in a circle, “this particular thing is not about him. If it were about him, I would have left last night and been back in Seattle by now. I hate to know that he’s suffering. I haven’t stopped loving him and I don’t think I ever will, but this… this is about me,” I say definitely. “This is about my heart, my soul, and my survival—outside of Christian Grey. It should have been about that before, but I was so busy looking at him and waiting to see what he was going to do and waiting for our life to start that I couldn’t see that my life appeared to be ending. I love Christian and nothing’s changed—I want to spend my life with him, but not on those terms!” I sit down and drink my coffee.

“So what does he have to do to get back in your good graces?” he asks. I narrow my eyes at him. What the hell is this all about? “Hey, look. No love lost here, the fucker fired me. I just want to know.” I drop my head.

This is not a test. I don’t know what he has to do. I’m doing what I need to do right now, because I need to do it. Everything was about him, and when I woke up two weeks ago and I was no longer ‘Christian Grey’s betrothed,’ I had no idea who the fuck I was. When I tried to put my life in order in terms of what little box I fit in all on my own, I didn’t know what little box that was. It was all about Christian and nothing about me. It has to be about me, now. I have to think of myself for a while.” I take my coat and my coffee and go out onto the deck. Chuck is right behind me as I sit in one of the wooden chairs.

“Well, Darling, you may want to figure that out soon, because the paps already have their take on the story.” He hands me his iPad and there’s a split picture of me and Christian, somewhat back to back, the headline across our faces declaring that we are “calling it splits.”

“Exactly who is he talking to? Where did this come from?” I ask, a bit impassively.

Well, according to the article—if you can call it that—he and Jason spent the night at the Alexis Hotel. Christian was drunk and crying when he came in and his hands were all bandaged…” which means he hit someone or something. “They know that you are not at Escala, probably because of the usual paps that hang out looking for a story, but right now they think that you have barricaded yourself into your downtown condo and that Christian is back on the market—drunk, but back.” Chuck explains. I shake my head.

I can’t even deal with this right now,” I say throwing my hands up in the air.

“Well, you had to know that this was coming,” Chuck says as he shows me the headline on the Break-Up website. “The cat is out of the bag now, Ana. You need to go back. Your patients are going to start seeking help elsewhere.”

Maybe they should,” I say absent-mindedly. Chuck frowns at me. “I’ve been thinking about leaving Seattle, starting fresh somewhere. I don’t want to go back as Christian Grey’s jilted lover.”

“That’s pretty drastic, don’t you think? What about your father and Mandy… and the new baby on the way? What about your friends?” I nod.

“There is that, but I just don’t think I can take it, Chuck.”

“He’s an asshole, but he does love you, Ana,” Chuck says and I nod.

“Yeah, just not enough to marry me,” I say. “I can’t go back to being his girlfriend… not after this, not after this public humiliation. I can’t do it.”

Well, you should probably know that while this story says you two are Splitsville, this one says that he is continuing with the wedding plans with Tammy.” I look at him frowning and he nods. “Yep, the save-the-date cards have gone out, Thornewood is still reserved, and Tammy has been instructed to continue on schedule.” I shrug.

That’s just him keeping up appearances, or trying to lure me back. Marriage means that we are going to be together forever, which means that even though we are going to be loving forever, we are going to be fighting forever as well. He’s okay when we’re all lovey-dovey-kissy-huggy, but when the reality of the whole thing hit him, he couldn’t take it.”

“Is that what you think?” Chuck and I both nearly jump out of our chairs when a familiar voice floats to my ears from the left of me. Christian comes walking around the porch into full view. His hair looks strange. It’s combed back off his face—neat. I don’t like it.

“I thought I fired you,” he says to Chuck.

“You did. I hired him,” I respond, still a little awestruck but knowing that once I was back in the paper again, my hiding place would soon be revealed.

“I see. Are you two…” he trails off.

“Yes, Christian, that’s exactly what we are!” I say sarcastically. “My fiancé jilts me and in a matter of two weeks, I run to the arms of another man. Why are you here?” The words come out harsh even to my ears. He is clearly taken aback at my tone. Chuck stands and makes to go inside. “You don’t have to leave, Chuck. Clearly you’re my lover now!” I spit. Chuck shakes his head.

“No offense, Ana, but I’m not in this. This is between you two.” He walks into the cabin and closes the door. Fine. I can face this man by myself. This gorgeous, beautiful, hunk of man that makes my body scream every time he’s near me. Yes… I’m pissed enough to understand that and face him on my own. I turn back to him folding my arms.

“You’re mad,” he says, like it’s a new observation. I roll my eyes and shake my head, grunting sarcastically. You can do better than that, Grey, I think to myself, still glaring at him with my arms folded. “I, um, was an idiot. I… didn’t think this thing through clearly…”

“No,” I say, flatly.

“No?” he asks bemused.

“No. Not gonna work. You did think it through. You thought it through while you were wherever you were on Monday night and in the wee hours of Tuesday morning when I was waiting for you to come home. You thought it through after you informed me that our wedding was off and you left me in the bathroom vomiting all night. You thought it through when you told the staff to handle me with care because you had canceled our wedding. You thought it through plenty, Christian. You just thought that I would be angry and still stick around like I did with Flynngate. If you didn’t think anything through, you didn’t think that maybe I would look at this whole situation and question what wanted!” I declare. He looks at me stunned for a moment.

“You never gave me a chance. We didn’t even talk. I said what I thought and there was no rebuttal, no opposing argument. You didn’t even try to talk to me to get me to understand that my way of thinking may have been in error. I never claimed to be right about everything, Anastasia. I told you what I thought we should do,” he rebuts.

“Exactly how was I supposed to respond to that? My fiancé comes home and tells me that we shouldn’t get married. What am I supposed to say? Oh, please don’t call off our wedding? Please still love me, please still marry me?”

“Anastasia, I was wrong for asking you to wait. I figured that out before I knew that you were gone, but by then it was too late. You didn’t even give me a chance to tell you that I was wrong. You cut me off completely. For all I knew, you could have been dead or hurt or in danger…”

“But I wasn’t! All that was wrong in this situation was that you weren’t in the know. Quite frankly, you didn’t need to be in the know. You told me what you wanted. I had to decide what I wanted, and I couldn’t do it with you staring in my face expecting me to act like everything was okay, getting reports on my every damn move. You had already made it clear to me that disagreement is unacceptable and could result in the destruction of all my hopes and dreams. So I thought that maybe I should get some new hopes and dreams.” I’m yelling now. I didn’t intend to yell at him. I don’t even want to fight with him. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to fight about. He said he didn’t think we should get married yet…

But he said that he was wrong about that and he discovered that before he knew that you had left.
That’s very convenient and I don’t know if I can believe him.

I cover my face and take a few deep breaths. I need to get my thoughts together. When I feel his touch on my hands, I pull away. “No… don’t,” I tell him. He frowns.

“I can’t touch you?” he asks incredulously. I shake my head. “Why?” He almost sounds like he’s gasping. I stand and walk to the far end of the deck. I have to put some space between us.

Because I love you and I want to touch you and hold you and fuck you and even though it may be what I want, it’s not what I need right now.” He stands and begins to close that space between us.

“Why not?” he asks seductively. I drop my head.

“Christian, I swear if you do that, I’m going to call that landlady back and pay her for another month,” I say definitely. When I look up, he is frozen to the spot.

“You would do that, wouldn’t you?” he asks.

In a heartbeat,” I respond. He is crushed. I see it in his eyes. He won’t say what he’s thinking at this moment, but it’s most likely exactly what I was thinking two weeks ago…

She doesn’t want me anymore.

“I’ve ruined us, haven’t I?” he asks, defeated. I don’t have time to stroke his ego and make him feel all better.

“Have you?” I put that ball back in his court.

“I don’t know. You won’t let me touch you. You’re talking like you don’t want me anymore. I walked up to hear you tell Davenport that you’re thinking about leaving Seattle. You’re so angry with me that you’re shooting fire out of your ears.” He speaks like a chastened toddler. “I’d say that I have.”

You ruined who we used to be—who used to be. I followed you blindly and even when I had a voice, it still felt like I didn’t. When I spoke up for myself or defended myself—right or wrong—or said anything that you didn’t agree with, it sent our relationship into a tailspin. One or both of us always came out feeling like the unequivocal bad guy and that’s simply not the way that it is. Each time you felt like it was all your fault, I was wrong for letting you feel that way, and you were wrong when the roles were reversed. It’s never black and white—never ‘I’m wrong and you’re right’ or vice-versa. It’s always gray. Always! That’s why the fights keep happening—because we don’t solve anything. We just fuck and hope the problem goes away! You knew that something was wrong, you just didn’t know what, and when we couldn’t fuck the problem away, you canceled the wedding!”

“Okay, but now you’re talking. You didn’t talk to me before…”

couldn’t talk to you before! My voice was gone, can’t you see that? My soul had been ripped from me and everything that I hoped and dreamed for was flying away like birds being freed from a cage! I became one of those bad chick flicks where the girl plans the wedding and the groom disappears. Hell, I became Carly fucking Madison!”

“Oh, God, no!” he exclaims. “I never would have done that to you!”

No, you didn’t run away to Cabo San Lucas. You had the decency to tell me to my face.” I turn away from him, wrapping my arms around my body trying to hold myself together. I hear him sigh heavily.

“You left me, Ana.” I can hear the sadness in his voice. I turn around.

“I’m not apologizing, Christian, because I don’t feel that I was wrong.”

“Ana, you ran off and left me when you promised me that you would never do that.”

“Yeah, and you proposed to me in front of my family and my friends and then told me that you didn’t want to marry me,” I shoot back.

“That is not what I said,” he groans.

“No, you said we should wait to get married until the fighting stops. Exactly when is that, Christian? When will the fighting stop?” He is silent. He knows that the fighting will never stop. We may not have knock-down-drag-out fights, but there will be more fights in our future. “You may not have physically left me, Christian, but I’m not the one who walked out.” I let that marinate before I say what I have been thinking for the last few days. “You told your mother that I was already your wife as far as you were concerned… that is, until we fight or heaven forbid, I do something that you don’t like. If that’s how you feel, then you’re right. We shouldn’t get married.” He runs his hands through his too-long hair. Although it is beginning to get the “just-fucked” look to which I am accustomed, I can’t help but think how I just want to get a pair of scissors to that shit!

“That’s funny. I was just thinking that we should elope. You’ve found the perfect little place here,” he replies.

I’m stunned by his statement. Part of me is shocked and thrilled that he still wants to marry me and the other part of me is livid that he thinks we can just sweep this situation under the rug.

Think again, Grey,” I say to his surprise. “I’m not going to marry you on a whim because you suddenly realize what it feels like to be without me, and now you want to lock me down so that I don’t leave you again.”

“That’s not why I…”

Be that as it may, you need to figure out what the hell you want. I’m far from perfect. As a matter of fact, I’m quite certain now that I’m even more fucked up than you are, but what you see is what you get. There’s no perfect ‘happily ever after’ here, Christian! It’s going to be a goddamn roller-coaster ride! Our first meeting was a roller-coaster ride. Our first fuck was a roller-coaster ride. Every-damn-thing about us is a fucking roller-coaster ride!

“We have the best damn sex session I had ever had in my life followed by a beautiful breakfast and then David shows up, sends me into a crying fit, and has to be kicked out of my apartment.

“We’re having an absolutely lovely breakfast at your parents’ house and then She-Thing makes way for the announcement to your whole family–and me–that you like to whip little brown-haired girls because of your birth mother.

“You whisk me away to a beautiful island paradise to help me heal from the horrific kidnapping ordeal, and we fight half the time that we’re there and most of the time on the plane on the way back.

“We’re having a fabulous joint birthday party when some genius decides that it might be a great idea to surprise us both with strip-o-grams! That went over like a lead balloon!

“We throw a lovely wedding and party for New Year’s Eve and Brian shows up announcing to you that he’s going to do everything in his power to take me away while Pedo-Bitch lures you to the bathroom and kisses you with her dragon lips, nearly resulting in a breakup on New Year’s Day!

“We announce one of the happiest days of our lives only to have the press tie it in with this Green Valley shit!

“Our fucked-up lives and trust issues and paranoid-delusional-obsessive psychopaths from our pasts are always going to be there and always going to pop up, but it never made me love you or want you any less! It never made me doubt or waver until you called off our wedding. So don’t judge me for my reaction to this situation because you pulled the rug out from under me, I fell backwards and cracked my head open, and you expected me to stand around and talk about it!” 

I’m breathing heavily and Christian has a truly stunned expression on his face. I don’t think I have ever seen that kind of shock and amazement in his eyes. Well, get used to it, Grey, because this is truly how it is. 

“I’m broken, Christian. I’ll always be broken, just like you. Parts of me will mend, but there will still be nights that I’ll wake up screaming after nightmares about the kidnapping and Green Valley; I will most likely need a shrink for the rest of my life for my mommy issues; I’ll always be angry to some extent about the way that Edward treated me when all I wanted to do was love him; and heaven only knows if I’ll ever get over the complete trust that I put in George Sullivan only to discover that he was protecting his brother the whole time. I don’t dwell on these things every minute of every day, but they are always in the back of my mind and they always will be. Are you going to accept me as I am–broken, vulnerable, shattered, and quite imperfect with anger and trust issues but strong and independent and ready to challenge you if I don’t agree with you–or are you going to be yet another one of my regrets?” 

I stand up and go back into the cabin, slamming the door behind me. I go into the kitchen and grab a beer, then walk out back to the fire pit only to find that Chuck and Jason got there before me.

“I should have known that you wouldn’t be far behind him,” I say to Jason.

“Yeah, I’m here,” he says, taking a swallow of his Abyss.

“I thought you didn’t drink on the job,” I say, looking at him in shock.

I’m not on the job right now,” he says impassively. “I’m having a drink with a friend… friends.” I smile at him. “So, I hear Chuck works for you now. No offense, Your Highness, but he makes more than you do.” My eyes grow large and my face falls as I turn my gaze to Chuck. He shrugs.

“Special set of skills, hazard pay, on-call 24/7… it adds up,” he says nonchalantly.

“Wow. I… had no idea. Look, Chuck, if you need to go on and find a real job, I certainly don’t want to hold you back. I mean, wow…” I say, a bit stunned. I make a fair sum of money and he makes more than I do!

I’ll let you know if it becomes a problem,” he says with a smile. There’s a moment of silence. “So, are we hearing wedding bells again?” Just as I am about to answer, both sets of eyes turn toward the house. I look up and see Christian walking towards us. I sigh heavily.

“I’ll let him tell you,” I say, agitated. I stand up and purposefully walk back to house without acknowledging Christian, go inside and slam the door… again.


A/N: So… he found her. How will he–or she–fix this? After Ana’s speech and Christian’s reactions to the situation, do you still feel the same way that you felt after the last chapter or no? I’ll have to say that if after reading this chapter and what Ana was feeling, if some of you have no change of heart whatsoever, then I hope that you NEVER have to learn what something like this feels like because if you do, you are in for a rude awakening…

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc. can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele/

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Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

132 thoughts on “Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 32—21,120 minutes

  1. gmbizette says:

    Nothing changed …she left. One angry woman. Same theme CG in the left in the dark. I just want them together but it is like they are on a merry go round that is out of control. ……

  2. Rachel says:

    She’s right

  3. Sheila says:

    Oh, Supreme Goddess, I write this to you before even reading this chapter that you have so lovingly bestowed upon us meager worshipers. Please know I am one that accepts, whether I like it or not that you are leading us through this saga. I follow as your will sees fit. Should you need to spread sunshine, or malaise upon those in YOUR tale I follow, and realize fully that it is yours and yours alone to choose theirs paths, and that you are kind enough to let others as fortunate as myself to follow along. I appreciate, thank you, and look forward to each chapter you give.

  4. nesh says:

    wow i need to refill my tissues,CG needs to think very hard about what he want and im glad they talked….great chapter you never disappoint.

  5. Jane says:

    Finally….thank you for Ana for standing up for herself and not fixing it with sex. Great chapter

  6. theresa browne says:

    O my sweet lord ,will these two e.ver get it right ,great chapter ,would love if they got married in the cabin ,keep up the great story ,love my Saturday mornings ,thanks hon x x

    Sent from my iPad

  7. anna says:

    I still think Christian is an idiot but I really hope they make up

  8. seralynsmom says:

    I never said Ana was totally wrong but i still stand by my original opinion. And I have been here. I had the man I thought was the love of my life break me. Difference between me and Ana is that I discovered that that man was not the love of my life. I’m now married to the true love of my life. Ana’s is still Christian. Yes he can be an idiot but he’s an emotionally stunted man. He never really grew emotionally like he should have cause of the pedophile and she has to realize that as mad as she is he hates fighting with her because he loves her so much. And yes every couple fights but not to the extent Ana and Christian can fight sometimes. It broke my heart when he called Allen and said that. And then I think it’s extremely significant what he did to his piano and the fact that he cried like a child in front of all those ppl. Christian Grey would never do that. Then in walks this woman that flipped his life upside down and they were really happy and then one day the shit hit the fan and he lost herself. That’s what happened here he lost herself and instead of realizing it before it was too late try started fighting like cats and dogs until they both broke down. Now they have to build themselves back up but they have to do it together. And I wanted to smack her!! Oh he’s just trying to save face! Ugh! Lol. They’ll fix this we all know they will but this needs to be mutually beneficial for them both. They need to have an extremely long talk about what they want from each other and what they should do when presented with issues like Cassir Hamilton or Myrick. They both could have handled both situations better. Also I wanted I slap Elliot!! I’m surprised Val didn’t cause I think she’d have liked to!! Heehee. Now if Christian doesn’t apologize to Chuck and give him his job back and if Chuck doesn’t say ok I’ll come back but don’t ever treat me like that again I’m gonna be so upset!!! Chuck is my Luke sawyer and that my favorite character!!! So please let Chuck come back!! Is this considered Sat. chapter? It showed up at 4:30am for me!

  9. crazy4bam says:

    I cried so much my husband thought there was something wrong with me. I think they need to stay right where they are and fight this out and go from there. I maybe wrong but a love like they have takes a lot of work to make it “work” for a lifetime. I am just glad that Ana got to finally yell at Christian and I know it will be an uphil battle. All great loves are……
    You rock girl, keep up the great work. Looking forward to more of the story.

  10. Sheila says:

    Once I finish a chapter, In my head I am always begging for more. That is when you know you are really drawn in to a story. Your writing is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  11. cindav says:

    awe….i really hated when she said she wouldn’t get to marry her prince in the castle. so much shit has happened in her life and this was the one dream she didn’t think she would ever get….and to get so close to it and have him say….not yet! would crush me too.
    but i hope CG also grows up and realizes fights will happen. then they will make it HEA!
    so glad i woke up to a new chapter!!!

  12. Rebecca Larson says:

    No words can explain how amazing your writing is!!!! I am on edge waiting for the next chapter and it is only 7 am Saturday morning….but you’re worth the wait! Have a great week!!!

  13. Kimberly says:

    Everything happens for a reason and now Badass Ana is back! So happy to see her.

  14. asunder73 says:

    In the background of this review, I hear the crooning voice of Aaron Neville singing “Tell It Like It Is”

    Where did fearless Christian go? He needs to pick up and dust his CEO hat because his latest, greatest and most life-affirming merger and acquisition is swirling down the drain after he decided to flush his common sense. When he saw her dossier, he knew that Ana had a lot going on. There’s always going to be some drama, and with Christan’s “make it rain” money, people like Skankasaurus Rex (Elena), her band of Merry Bitches (ex- and wannabe subs), Colonic, Pimp Juice (brother wannabe) and his mystery side-chick, and envy galore, there was ALWAYS going to be more than a little rain than average falling into their lives.

    I’m glad you gave Ana her voice back. She’s just NOT herself unless she’s kicking ass, taking names, and checking her list twice like Santa seeing who has been naughty or nice.

    You’ll notice I’m not saying much about Christian. That’s because his life truly depends on his having a good relationship with Ana whose dirty drawers he worships. Once she gets settled in her universe again, I’m sure he’ll be able to position himself in his stationary orbit.

    As an aside, I LOVED your reality check when Chuck disclosed that his job makes her job look like a hobby pay-wise. That doesn’t happen n the books. ELJ’s Ana still thinks her job is worth exposing herself to all types of mayhem…. Umm, BILLIONAIRE! Nothing was EVER, EVAH be the same. Just sayin’

    • seralynsmom says:

      This review right here is exactly what I was trying to say!! And it was funnily done!! Love the nicknames!! This was awesome!!

    • Skankasaurus Rex!!!! OMG! Can I PLEASE borrow this term to use somewhere in my story??? PLEASE!!!????

      And her band of Merry Bitches!!! Help me, I’m crying over here!!!!

      Thank you so much for the best laugh I’ve had so far today! There’s some Aaron Neville in my future…

      • asunder73 says:

        Please feel free to use the above terms I use to describe this disreputable lot. I must admit I’ve never understood the Elena angle (in any story). Did she think that Christian would ever hold her up in public as his significant other? Did she think he’d marry one of the subs she supplied as a beard? What the hell was her end game? When she doesn’t have a legitimate, tangible goal and she’s still f-ckng with people, she is clearly a very sick puppy.

        With all these people obsessed with them, both Ana and Chris need to be taken in for scientific study. Between their brain waves, pheromones and/or other bodily excretions, something chemical and/or metaphysical is going on that makes people lose their ever-loving minds.

    • Jedismom says:

      So funny! And right! I totally agree that he worships Ana and just hope that she is able to see that love can make people crazy and stupid and she sees how all the outside things sent him into a tailspin. What a great twist with the possible brother and his total in ability to cope with that situation. The fact that he could be related to the pimp hasn’t really been dealt with yet, but obviously with the way he and Ana fought and then his stupidity, he apparently isn’t dealing well. She is not wrong at all, but (and maybe because I’m half in love with CG myself) I’m not sure he was wrong either (just in how he handled it). Guess that is what makes it so hard. Can’t wait for them to work it out and then maybe some good make up sex!

  15. mpowis says:

    Ana is right they will never stop fighting that’s what makes them such an intense couple. When will they realise that!

  16. lovesfiftyshades says:

    If I could breathe I’d write…Let me gather myself and then I’ll respond.

    Okay. Whew. This is so real and true to life it cuts me like a knife.

    Unless you’ve ever heard the words, “I don’t love you anymore” or “I don’t want to marry you anymore” you might not be able to understand what Ana is feeling.

    These emotions can only be written by someone who has some knowledge of them, on some level. I stick with my original response, I’m team Ana…I hadn’t really thought about how she had lost herself and everything was a response or reaction to Christian until she said it to him in this chapter but oh how true that is.

    I cried my heart out for Christian because I love him so so much in the first part of this chapter and I do want the HEA…but when she told him how hurt she was, put it all into words…Well, I just wanted to slap some sense Christian.

    The road to happiness…the road to “mending” Dr. Steele is certainly bumpy, but I know she is safe in your hands…and I know that you will take care of Christian as well. You are an amazing story teller and I can’t wait to see what happens next!!!

    • Unless you’ve ever heard the words, “I don’t love you anymore” or “I don’t want to marry you anymore”

      You’re right. There’s so much that I can say about that. And yes, the road is always bumpy to mending. Thank you for pointing that out. 😉

  17. Jedismom says:

    Well, it is good to see Ana’s point of view and it makes me a little more on her side. But I’m not sure about losing herself because I kind of feel like she didn’t really know who she was at the beginning. Yes she had friends and a life but she never really dealt with all of her childhood issues or David issues. How can you know who you are when you hold on to that much stuff. I feel like even though Christian isn’t perfect he has at least tried to do what he thought was best. He faught with her friends when she checked out so she wouldn’t have to wake up in a hospital alone. He may be wrong how he does things but he tried to protect her. Plus she keeps saying she waited forever for him to propose but she was the one who wanted to wait. It seems to me like lots of things have been the way she wants them. She is right in what she said, but I hope she listens to what he has to say as well. I hope that she considers his point of view because she is so hurt and angry right now that she can’t see all that he has done for her to support her, to mend her and to love her the best that he knows how. They definitely have a long road ahead of them, but I’m confident they will get there. You don’t just throw away the love of your life. I know she thinks that is what he did, but two wrongs don’t make a right.
    Great chapter please consider another bonus chapter. I’m dying to know what happens!

    • I have to disagree a bit with not knowing who she was. She had found a version of herself that she was content with, and she was losing that small bit of security (Notice I said “a version of herself” because we are all constantly changing in life and becoming better–or sometimes worse–versions of ourselves).

      Waiting–actually, they both wanted to wait. They both had issues that they wanted to deal with emotionally and when she felt like she was ready, she wanted him to know within himself that HE was emotionally ready to take the plunge, which is why she didn’t make the announcement to him that she was ready AND remember, she told her father, then made him promise not to say anything to Christian because she didn’t want to pressure him.

      Imagine the last time that you had to wait for something that you really, really, really wanted. Seconds seemed like hours and days seemed like weeks, didn’t it? That’s why she feels like she waited forever.

      When you feel that someone wrongs you, you do try to consider all the good that they have done to or for you. This is why lifelong relationships last and don’t fall apart at the first–or the 50th–sign of trouble (I’m a witness to this, so I do know of what I speak). However, as much as we would love to do it, when we are hurt, we can’t just skip over the pain that we are caused like a crack in the sidewalk. It’s very real and it doesn’t go away that easily. This is why you always want to think before you act and do something that will hurt someone, because they will VERY QUICKLY forget all of the good you did and focus on the pain… that’s human.

      Very thought-provoking points! Thank you for your review!

  18. Eugenia says:

    And now I have to wait one week? Ugggghhh…. Please….I can’t wait…

  19. CJ says:

    I’m still trying to get my head round what he was thinking when he made that decision. Sometimes his level of stupidity is unreal. Finally something to shut Carla up.

    • Sometimes… you just want the fighting to stop (shrugs).

      • adrie says:

        I don’t think everyone understands what it’s like to love someone, but constantly fight about everything. As Lynn said, sometimes you just want the fighting to stop. It’s exhausting and emotionally draining and Christian has never said that he is always right, but he did say that since it is his first relationship he is bound to do stupid things. As in all things, when he does sometimes, he goes all in and his stupid things are just mind blowing.

  20. mkloesel5 says:

    The only thing I’m disappointed about is that I have to wait for the next chapter. She’s pissed & I would be too. I look forward to the chapter.

  21. nedbella says:

    WOW!, so emotional, but considering the situation Ana and Christian are in, it’s no wonder I am a blubbering mess…..LOL.

    Well I think they are both wrong to a degree. Christian for calling off the wedding. But also for not staying to talk to her that night as he could clearly see she wasn’t acting like her normal self. She may have thought she was, but he could see she wasn’t alright. But I’ll be leanient on him because really he is still learning to cope with his emotions. All while dealing with things that come with a relationship, preparing for a wedding and all the other outside issues going on. In his mind at the time, his decision to cancel the wedding was the smart thing to do, but he could have talked more about it as Ana’s reaction could be the breaking of them for good.

    I love that Ana spoke up at the cabin. He found out that Ana needs time for herself to decide what’s best for her. Christian being shocked will show just how much he effects her life…..right down to her heart and soul. Ana speaking about herself as being broken was beautifully written. When she listed the things that’s happened since they met it became blatantly obvious that it’s all these outside people who are the problem. Ana and Christian as a whole are great together, but add the outside bad stuff and that is where the problems kick in. I hope he sees that.

    I also hope he takes Chuck back on his staff. I’m sure Ana wouldn’t leave the cabin without him. I can see Christian having to serve up a big fat apology to Chuck if/when he gets Ana back. I was ticked off when Christian made the assumption that Chuck and Ana were together. Silly man.

    An excellent chapter, draining, but excellent.

  22. Cbride says:

    Thank you, I’m glad she’s standing for herself. Is weird, I don’t feel any joy in Christian’s pain like I usually do.
    This will be the longest week ever !!!! I want more😢

  23. The Nutjob says:

    I can’t wait for the day when our 2 favorite thickheaded mules have a conversation like grown-ups, from start to finish without running off and hiding or sulking or whatever, without the chance to let the resentment fester, without conjuring up all sorts of scenarios in their heads. Ah, I so can’t wait! When that happens, they are ready to get married 🙂

  24. Teresa says:

    Yay! Strong, kick ass Ana is back! Love this side of her, I missed her, great chapter!

  25. Darcy says:

    Let me just say that these last two chapters have actually broken my heart and I have been so close to tears because of this emotional rollercoaster.
    That being said, I completely understand both views regarding this issue. However, I am kind of upset with the fact that every single time Christian and Ana get into a fight it is ALWAYS Christian’s fault and Ana is always right and everyone sides with her. Yes, Christian wanted to postpone the wedding, but he did it because he wanted to work on them. Instead of staying and dealing with it, she ran away and left him. Then when he finally found her, she is furious at him because he has completely taken over her life and she doesn’t know who she is, completely ignoring the fact that Christian had COMPLETELY changed since knowing her and his whole life revolves around her. I just wish that sometimes Christian wouldn’t be the bad guy in all of their arguments.
    I love this story and my heart is breaking and I honestly have no idea how I can wait for another chapter.
    😦

    • “I am kind of upset with the fact that every single time Christian and Ana get into a fight it is ALWAYS Christian’s fault and Ana is always right and everyone sides with her.”

      That’s a matter of opinion. You are one of the people that didn’t side with Ana, so of course, your opinion differs. Most people empathize with what Ana is feeling, so they side with her. Most people see Christian as this emotionally-stunted deviant who needs to learn how to love. You can’t pull that picture out of people’s heads. They have to come to their own conclusions–just like you did.

      I think people are missing a very important key point in Ana’s rant, when she said,

      “When I spoke up for myself or defended myself—right or wrong—or said anything that you didn’t agree with, it sent our relationship into a tailspin. One or both of us always came out feeling like the unequivocal bad guy and that’s simply not the way that it is. Each time you felt like it was all your fault, I was wrong for letting you feel that way, and you were wrong when the roles were reversed. It’s never black and white—never ‘I’m wrong and you’re right’ or vice-versa. It’s always gray. Always! That’s why the fights keep happening—because we don’t solve anything. We just fuck and hope the problem goes away!”

      So if anyone is 100% blaming Ana OR Christian for this particular situation, then they’re not paying attention to what either of them is doing or saying. I do appreciate your observations, though!

  26. Darcy says:

    One thing I forgot to say!
    Thank you so much for writing this and I love your story so much!!!!

  27. Christian618 says:

    Ok so here goes they finally talked about their fights and arguments and how they handle things after they have huge fights. They need serious marriage counseling before the wedding. Perhaps they can postpone the date for a later date as oppose to indefinitely. Her driving and staying away for two weeks is unacceptable as well. I understand she felt as if she was loosing herself and identity by catering to all of his needs, wants and behaviors. She allowed this to happen a from the start of their relationship maybe if she would have put her foot down from the beginning he would not be running over her like a freight train. It’s time for some serious counseling on their relationship. Ana needs to stop manipulating their friends and family to get some sympathy going her way. She is much to blame for this problem as is Christian. While she was away having a nice time Christian was I Seattle being cruxifixed and miserable for trying and I mean trying for doing the right thing. I am not saying it was the correct thing to do. Anyway I know you will do the right thing in next weeks chapter.

    • Just so that I understand you correctly, are you saying that the way that Christian treats her and reacts to her is HER fault?

      And the fact that she couldn’t tolerate it and was about to combust and had to get away from it, she was wrong for that?

      I’m not saying that it’s good/right OR bad/wrong, I just want to make sure that’s what I’m hearing…

      “Away having a nice time…” Crying for three days and trying to put herself back together–I’m sorry, but I don’t consider that having a nice time.

      I’m also very curious as to what “right thing” I should be doing in next week’s chapter. I’m not being sarcastic or anything, I’m just truly curious as to what you would consider is doing the “right thing.”

  28. bugglady23 says:

    True words, life is a roller coaster and no, you can’t fuck your problems away, but being CG, I guess you could but not when it comes to Ana, she never cared to be with an ALMIGHTY, she cared to be with the man, not his possessions. She wants CG, she never wanted to be in his shadow. I still think that they can work it out together and they could elope at that same cabin like CG said. But they need to compromise. Btw, you cannot write another chapter till next Saturday lady😡 I will get nightmares 😱

  29. Ginger says:

    I won’t lie and tell you that I got into fanfiction for the most part for mindless entertainment. For the longest amount of time that was my escape crack from the real world. Along the way I found my favorite stories to be from authors that add reality to their fiction, and damn it all if I didn’t like that better! Your story is just that – more reality than fiction and REALLY ENTERTAINING TOO!!
    I enjoyed Chuck taking care of Ana and going to find her. She inspires that in folks. Christian’s breakdown was epic. Sadly, it was also needed. We can survive and thrive remarkably almost any abuse in life – but it comes at a cost, emotionally stunted, socially unaware, self esteem and co-dependence are but a few of the issues.
    They are talking, that’s all that matters. They’re up in the mountains, they can’t run away that easy. Ana’s come to Jesus to Christian was what he needed. No one talks to him like that, because he hasn’t had real friends. His ivory tower way of living isn’t working anymore. They will have to decide together what it is they want out of life and if they can do it together. There’s nothing more precious than love; but it’s got to be right.
    Thanks for this rollercoaster ride!

  30. Ana says:

    To sum it up they are both idiots and need to get through all those hurdles, like Ana said their relationship has been a roller coaster from the very beginning how do they expect it to change now? You always need the storms before the sunshine.

  31. Loving all of the comments–for and against the storyline–but I just want to say that I’m still not going to wave my magic wand and make it all better. It’s still going to be a rocky, painful, irrational, frustrating uphill battle that occurs between people who love each other and stay together for years and years. That’s real life, that’s what happens, and that’s what I write. My story may not be verbatim your story or what you think or what you’ve seen but hey, like I said, it’s a combination of what I KNOW and what I’ve SEEN as well as a bit of my own interpretation. So thanks for sticking with me, but know that my mind hasn’t changed about the direction–and for some of you who said that you would be upset if the story didn’t go a certain way, you are going to be upset, because this storyline is already written and finished and I’m not going to change it because you want to see something go a certain way. I do still thank ALL of you for your feedback and your tears and your anger and your encouragement. I want to thank you for voicing your likes and dislikes without being disrespectful or hurtful. It means a lot to me…

  32. lyn says:

    Oh I can understand where she is coming from, but after her lil tit for tat with Christian exsub and all and brian I would of thought she would of been tougher than that but we all need a cooling off time cant wait for next chapter great work again

  33. Nancy says:

    Wow, this was maybe the best chapter ever. I just love your writing ability. You are very talented!

  34. Danielle says:

    I love Chuck for coming to find her & make sure she was ok. I love Jason for making sure that Christian stayed sane but made him work through it on his own. The Scooby Gang coming to Christian when they knew he needed it was great. You are just such a great writer & I look forward to the next chapter & seeing where we go from here.

  35. The mean reviewer says:

    Christian is as schismatic or divided as he could be. Prior to Ana entering his life his most fundamental character trait is his alienation
    from human emotions, or a lifelong struggle not to feel. The horrors of his early life and his pride fueled by Elena’s abuse lead him to disdain the spectrum of human feelings. The witch made him believe for years that he was a part of some BDSM echelon that transgresses accepted standards. However, that guilt that torments him often, many, many good deeds, giving to those in needs, helping families, and people serve as proof that he is human, maybe not a mediocre one, but simply human. His ultimate realization that he loves Ana, that he has a heart and is a human after all was a process, and it was significant what Elliot barked about empathy and Christian’s lack of it. Christian grapples with the decision to live with his love and be completely open, vulnerable an exposed. The fights and struggle are his way to illuminate his personality and understanding of himself. Maybe it is true that he is not ready to be married, or maybe he is as ready as he will ever be? His love for Ana is the only force strong enough to transcend his contempt for himself. I wonder what did Flynn accomplish all this years? Why is Christian still talking to him and considering him a friend?
    What is Flynn’s role in Christian’s doubts, and his decision to call off the wedding? Shock after shock and in this chapter Christian seems to gradually start to accept the reality of what his life will be with Ana. I expect him to painfully finally accept that he can not force reality to conform with his deepest desires without regarding Ana’s desires and wishes, and the way she sees their life together. Ana is intelligent, proud, beautiful, honest and strong-willed, but in most other ways she is the opposite of Christian. Whereas he is self-centered and prone to self-loathing, she is self-sacrificing, kind, and exhibits endless compassion.
    In many ways Ana is more mature than Christian.
    I see how it was time for her to think of Ana first. Still, Christian is one of the most enigmatic characters I have ever encountered.
    The relationship between your Ana and Christian is alway based on very strong mutual love, but it swings from one extreme of emotion to the other, as they both slowly approach the moment of truth. These next chapters, I can’t wait for, it will be a make it or break it time, and knowing your talent, I don’t agree we know, or we are prepared for what is coming. This was my little rant, and I will wait with a heavy heart…

  36. Lourdes *GroovyExcel* says:

    Fo’ real doe. These two just DON’T FLIPPING LISTEN TO EACH OTHER. Like, at all. I really, REALLY wanna slap them both in the face… hard. But… who knows. They might actually like it.

  37. Ana Ribeiro says:

    Cant wait for the next update 🙂

  38. Terry says:

    I really hope that somewhere in this story, these two go for counseling as a couple. Yikes ~ do they have issues to work out with each other!! As other reviewers have said (and Ana said herself), all their fights end with sex and not much is resolved. They both go to therapy separately, and while that should still happen, they really need professional help as a couple. I don’t mean to sound like I am on a rant here ~ I just have been feeling for a long time (actually since the Anquilla trip) that they needed professional help as a couple. Not saying they shouldn’t be together or taking sides with either one of them ~ simply stating that an objective professional trained in couples counseling might give them a productive way to argue/fight rather than running away (literally and figuratively) from the situation. I’m also glad that Chuck made the comment to Ana that her clients might soon start going to other therapists. I had to laugh at that, even though it wasn’t written to be funny. I have always been amazed that Ana still has clients considering that she always seems to be cancelling her appointments! I’m not sure I would like going to a therapist who up and leaves for several weeks. It’s hard to find another therapist that quickly if you are really in need of help, and then you have to retell your story and explain your issues to the new therapist, etc. Chuck really made a good point, and she has to think beyond just her wants and needs but to those of her patients as well. Hope I don’t sound like a bitch ~ these thoughts sound so much better in my head (which is where thoughts originate) than in writing. Sorry about that!! I look forward to seeing where this wild ride is going to take them (and us).

  39. I love the chapter, n the one before i didnt read either til today because of work, but it was worth the wait lol…. i keep deleting and retyping everything in bc im not exactly sure how to word what i want to say. Thats why i wont publish what i write because i have a hard time with it. Different people go through different things, thats why i can relate to Ana, in the story i have been through worse then her, so i know where shes coming from if that makes sense, but for what your doing your writing, i dont have that courage to go through with putting my stuff on the web. But im glad you did I love your writing and i love this story!! I can relate to it in many ways……This chapter was amazing im glad she stood up for herself! Im happy that Chuck showed up to make sure she was ok, only wish it would show more of what he thought i think that would be very interesting to see his point of view, but thats just me lol. But anyways again amazing chapter looking forward to the next one!!! maybe we will be lucky and you will post it sooner then saturday lmao!!! either way looking forward to it!! also wanted to Thank you for the story line, out of all the ones i have read this one will always be my favorite, i always go back to yours when i can get into another or simply cant find anything else to sounds good to me!! so thank you again!! look forward to next weeks!!!

  40. smb75 says:

    I can’t take that women seriously anymore, she throws a tantrum worthy of a 3 year old child and leaves him behind again.
    You do not solve problems by running away.

  41. OTB says:

    Been there, felt that way only to come out of it stronger. So, no change of heart for me ‘coz I knew how it felt for her. About him… well, I knew he would hurt. His reaction was unexpected but I wasn’t really judging him. So, no change of heart there either.

  42. asunder73 says:

    In this case, no-one is really wrong. Neither of them is showing his/herself to the best advantage.The problem is that they are still basically living under the cloak of secrecy, trying to live under the radar of the authorities where most of this BS is concerned.

    1. No-one has publicly outed the nasty, two-timing, pedo-bitch-troll. Nothing is going to get solved while he keeps this cloak-and-dagger crap up. Pedophiles treat kids like Jays: they can’t stop at just one and they generally like a new one when the others age out.

    2. They aren’t fully cooperating with the idiots (police and security) with regard to the Gingerbread Man. Hell, why didn’t they swab out his orifices and find out for darn sure? I mean, they had him in their custody. No-one had a Q-tip?

    3. He hasn’t exactly been proactive in terms of laying the smack down on his ex-substitutes for his dead Mommy. These bitches should be afraid to say boo. He didn’t pay them for sex, he paid them to leave. So stay long gone. They are not lawyers, so they should stop acting like they’re on retainer.

    4. Instead of focusing on their REAL and IMMEDIATE issues, Christian calls Colonic to piss all over his hopes and dreams again. Then he calls NewDom to ball-gag Loosey-Goosey. The trouble these inSUBordinates get up to really takes the bloom off the BDSM lifestyle.They are hanging around like a curse. Only Christian caught the crap instead of the clap.

    5. Christian needs to lay off the liquor. His mother was indeed a crack-whore. Predisposition to substance abuse is in his blood. Leave that stuff alone.

    6. Assuming Ana is a sex-addict like him and accusing her of hanky-panky because a d!ck is in her immediate vicinity. Can’t we still count Ana’s lovers on ONE hand whereas Christian had many ((garden tools)) in his stable, switching them out whenever the L-word was hinted at? Gosh, I love Christian to itty bits, but he’s making me love him with a Little L. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hHSH9sJUEo

    • Okay, lots of info here!

      1. Seriously, you seriously expect him to come out and say “I was one of the kids raped by the Pedo-bitch?” Seriously? For reals?

      2. What does he really have on Gingerbread Boy that he can take to the police… that he SAID he has a key to her apartment? That he SAID he was Christian’s brother? That they don’t really know who he is because he gave them two names? What do they really have that they can take to the authorities? And did you miss the part where they DID SWAB HIM AND FINGERPRINT HIM? I think Jason’s word were “Damn near had to suffocate him to get the swab, so he definitely has something to hide.”

      3. There was only ONE of Christian’s EX-SUB that stepped out of line. The other one was a sub-wannabe. She never made the mark, remember? And if one sub stepping out of like is bad for my Christian (Cassie) then two must have been horrendous for E. L. James’ Christian (Leila and Susannah).

      4. I don’t know what to tell you about that. If all subs are perfect people then I guess I am completely out of the loop.

      5. If you remember, Christian was an alcoholic when he was 15. That’s what kept getting him in trouble. That’s how he dealt with pain and his lack of control until Elena got a hold of him. That’s how he dealt with it when he REALLY lost control in the original books–only once, yes, but that’s still how he dealt with it. So yes, he is aware–and has stated–that he should probably not turn to it at every problem, but he will have a tendency to do it when life gets to be too much. Sorry…

      6. I’m lost on this one. Never referred to Ana as a sex addict, so I have no idea what you’re talking about here… 😦

  43. valentinesgenie says:

    Well I am in shock these two people not characters because to me they are real need to work it out listen,love,hope,fight,make love,and it will get hard there will be days when they want to throw in the towel I’ve heard anything worth having is worth fighting for Fight Ana Fight Christian your love will prevail it has to or I’m going to become unglued LOL….see you next week….

  44. rjbriggs says:

    Brilliant chapter can’t wait for next Saturday your chapters are in such depth they are fantastic you can feel the emotion.

  45. stace says:

    You warned us but it still rips my heart in pieces. I completely understand Ana’s position. Doesn’t mean I have to like her disappearing…lol. Poor CG. To be so smart and successful, he screws up with Ana so much! I will say it….I feel sorry for him. He seems to be lost in a sea of confusion when there is any hiccup in their relationship (loss of control). Hope he figures it out soon. I have followed both stories and have full faith in you/your writing. Thank you!

  46. Blondegirl3 says:

    Loved that chuck found her… Ugh Christian pls note his dedication to her and give him his job back with a raise! And loved Taylor telling her highness that chuck makes more than she does! Ha! Now the meat of it….. Awesome! But ultimately it takes two to tango! They both have made mistakes in this situation! Is Ana claims to still love Christian, than she should have the decency to contact him and let him know she is fine. For over two weeks, nothing…. Not to mature! Could he have spoken to her about his fear of all the arguing? Sure ! But they both need to work on things together! Great job!

  47. pookiebear3 says:

    You kick some serious ass !!! Your writting has had me arguing back and forth with myself for days. This afternoon my husband told me I made my point and apologized for his “selective hearing” . Took me a few minutes to figure out I was so back and forth in my head. I had to have him repeat himself a few times. I laughed so hard I was in tears!

    I feel for both Christian and Ana. I have been in Anas shoes and there is really no words to describe those feelings. However ive been on the other end. When your lost and not sure what to do. Things come across in ways you dont intend them too. But at a certsin point you just want quiet..no fighting or yelling. Walking around on egg shells cause you have no idea how the other one is going to he at any given moment.

    The sooner they come to terms with the fact that they both have issues and there is always going to he something the better off they will be be. Ana cant fix things by running away and even if it doesnt make sense in hishead he just needs to put it out there.
    They both need time out chairs on different end of a room facing awsy from eachother. That way they can tslk about the issue at hand without getting close enough to turn it into a fuck session!! 🙂
    Thank you for another chapter!!!

    • ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!! HALLELUJER! HALLELUJER! HALLELUJER! Someone who could CLEARLY see both points of view!!!! I got one! Hallelujer! I got one!

      If there was one before now and I missed you, I’m so sorry! In fact, I know there were a couple who said they could see both sides, so forgive me. I was just so happy to see that someone saw both sides so if I missed you, thank you too!!! ❤

  48. 50ShadesFan0004 says:

    I do feel Ana is in the wrong. I’m sorry, I realize emotions can be real. I realize that, but Ana is just going oddly crazy. If someone said that to me, I would not run away. I would confront them, that’s my personal style. Ana keeps running away, she keeps ‘having to be right.’ If I were Christian, I’d call the wedding off for real now, because I could never be married to someone that held me hostage like that.

    Who wants to be held hostage? That’s what happens every time Ana is to the limit. CG may have his flaws,but he tries, he’s changed. Ana, well I feel it’s the same thing again and again. Will she ever stop holding him hostage? Will she always run away and then come out ‘morally’ on top?

    You are an amazing author. I love your story, I just don’t like how Ana is all the time

  49. debbieg0379 says:

    One thing is for sure IMO, those 2 need to seriously learn how to communicate with each other. I think they were both in the wrong but also both had some valid points. There is a reason this book is called “Mending Dr. Steele”, she has A LOT of healing to do still as does Christian. I almost understand Christian’s hesitancy in proceeding with the wedding (I said almost), but he went about explaining himself completely wrong. Couples will always fight, that’s a given and there will always be drama… esp in the life of a billionaire. I don’t think Christian explained his reasoning for the postponement in the right way. I don’t think he meant that he wanted a “fight free” marriage (I would hope he has enough common sense to know that does NOT exist) just that they needed to learn how to communicate with each other without everything turning into a massive blowout, knock em down drawn out war between them. What he probably should have said, hindsight is 20/20 as they say, is that both of them need to learn to communicate with each other before their wedding takes place, so that way not every argument/disagreement results in WWIII. They obviously still love each other, but both still have issues. They gotta accept each other, flaws and all, and hold each other up during stressful times rather than breaking each other apart. One thing is for sure, this won’t be an easy road for either of them. But then again, smooth roads never made great drivers 😉

  50. I love reading your updates they make me cry and feel things that I havent felt in a long time. They are done in a real way and it makes me anxious waiting for your updates because I’m so into your story. Can’t wait for the next one lovely.

    Xxx Aby

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